40 weeks: Pregnancy Update (OVERDUE)

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Taken at 39 weeks!

Oh my, it’s been almost a month since I last updated. Life has got somewhat hectic recently – plus there have been lots of changes! I have started maternity leave, our kitchen was gutted and replaced, my parents are in the country and … erm, I’m still pregnant. Yes, it seems Baby Bug may need a bit of a push (and a shove) to get him out. I’m now going more by my dates (which are 40+4) than the NHS dates as they make me feel better.

In other news, I was somehow, crazily nominated in the MAD Blog Awards for Best Pregnancy Blog. To whoever nominated me: THANK YOU! I absolutely was not expecting it (and thoroughly do not deserve it) and it was such a lovely, wonderful thing to have happen.

Weeks: 40 + 4 (my dates) / 41 + 2 (NHS)

New developments:
I am overdue. My actual dates have now become quite a bit more important because I knew my dates within a 48 hour time period – but, when we had the scan, they bought the dates forward by a few days so due date was 21 March rather than 26-27 March. I know this may seem trivial but, when you’re really, really pregnant, it becomes really, really important. It means that, today, I’m 4 days overdue rather than a week and 2 days.

Importantly, it also means that they are talking about inducing me earlier than I believe necessary. I also don’t want to be induced but that’s a whole other story. My takeaway lesson from this is, if you know your dates, highlight this earlier as it’s easier to discuss it when you’re not the size of a house and desperate for baby to arrive.

Symptoms:
I received a bit of an annoying blow last week when I was told I tested positive for Group Strep B (GSB). I was told, however, that they weren’t sure if the sample had been contaminated or not. Argh.

For those who haven’t heard of it, GSB is a pretty common bacteria which CAN – in rare circumstances – cause newborns to be quite seriously sick. For this reason, women who test positive are given IV antibiotics during labour and bub needs to be monitored afterward. It’s not a massive deal but it will (would) mean that I have to go to the labour ward (old and crap) not the birth centre (new and swish) at my hospital.

However, as mentioned, there was some confusion over whether the sample was contaminated so I have taken a five day course of antibiotics and, today, given another urine sample to see if it comes back clear or not. It does mean that, if I go into labour before the results come back in a couple of days, I’ll need the IV antibiotics as a precaution. So I’m now in the weird position where I’m overdue but really hoping bub gives me two extra days so I can get the all clear!

Apart from that, I’m huge – so sleeping, walking, breathing, eating is all, as you can imagine, SUPER FUN.

I’ve been having loads of practice contractions, a show, bub is super engaged…and yet, nothing. No cigar.

Sickness:
Nausea is back intermittently.

Cravings:
Randomly, I’ve developed a sudden, unending love of grapefruit. Grapefruit has not really featured massively in my life before but, suddenly, at around 39 weeks, I insisted we go and get one (someone on Four in a Bed ate one and I was insanely jealous) and I haven’t looked back.

Bump:
See pic above (which was at 39 weeks – it’s got bigger!).

Maternity fashion:
I am living in leggings. A lot of my tops are now a bit too tight. I bought two long-line cardigans which I adore. My Mum also bought me a massive pink hoodie which is my at-home uniform. Suffice to say: I’m not going to be winning any fashion awards.

Anything else:
I have a midwife appointment tomorrow and plan to have another sweep (I had one last week). I’ve also had to book an induction date which is Sunday (3 April). However, I’m planning to see if they’ll be happy to do the continuous monitoring thing for a while given my dates are slightly off (on Sunday, I will be 41+1).

Follow me on twitter / instagram for more up to date news (or just because it would be fab to connect).

35 weeks: Pregnancy Update

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Un-glamorous work bathroom selfie at 35 weeks!

Weeks: 35 (NHS) / 34 + 2 (my dates)

New developments:
I’m 35 weeks, according to the NHS! This feels like a mini-milestone although I’m not sure why. Perhaps being, honestly, in the midst of hyperemesis hell, I truly did not believe that I’d ever get to this stage. It seemed so far away and every day seemed so interminably miserable. So, wow, amazing to be here.

Bug is still pretty boisterous. I’m not entirely sure when he sleeps as I feel like he is constantly awake and kicking me. He loves doing the odd roll also, which, literally, takes my breath away as he’ll move from one side to the other. I’m pretty sure he is now head down and I’m trying to monitor how I sit and lie down to encourage him to stay in that position.

My last set of bloods came back and my iron levels were quite low so I’ve started drinking Spatone which is iron but in a liquid sachet (apparently easier to digest).  I mix it with orange juice and can’t taste it. I’ve always had quite low iron levels so this wasn’t a surprise but I have been feeling super tired and breathless so hopefully the Spatone will help. I’m sure Mr Bug will appreciate it if I’m able to stay up past 9pm (or maybe not! It has allowed him to finish The Witcher without me whining that I’m bored…).

We’ve begun to get our hospital bag packed. I will do a post on what we’ve included as I found it a bit of a nightmare, if I’m honest. I guess part of the issue is you don’t REALLY know how long you’ll be in for so you’re probably going to pack either too much or too little. I’m shooting for too much. Also, I think we need to talk to mother nature about babies coming out as a standard size. It would make life MUCH EASIER.

Symptoms:
I still need to pee all the time! I’ve also been getting those sharp jabs to the bladder/groin area which, as you can imagine, are SUPER fun. Pelvic pain is still an issue, especially when I sit down and work at my desk for too long. It’s hard to keep reminding myself to get up but I do try.

My back is still quite sore, I can’t quite find a good position which stops it from aching.

Sickness:
Nausea is back. No vomiting as of yet (fingers crossed it stays away). The nausea is worse in the mornings, evenings and whenever I haven’t eaten so I have a stash of biscuits/fruit with me at all times. Special K chocolate cereal bars are my new best friend, diet be damned.

Cravings:
Curries. Still.

Bump:
I feel huge.

Maternity fashion:
I have found maternity jeans uncomfortable for the last couple of weeks so I’m currently living in leggings and tights. I dislike having anything constricting bump (and bug doesn’t seem to enjoy it either) so I think that is a personal opinion thing as others prefer more support.

I’ve just bought a couple more leggings as I’m living in them when not wearing tights for work. I’ve also bought myself a couple of long t-shirts from New Look as everything is getting just a tad tight.

My coat has stopped fitting around Bump, so I’ve nicked my Mum’s slightly larger, very warm North Face coat (she lives abroad so doesn’t need it, I’m not that mean). This should definitely last me until D-Day.

Anything else:
I’ve got one more week at work! My maternity leave starts on Tuesday 23 January. We then have the kitchen being ripped out and replaced (hopefully). We have also started on a hypnobirthing course, so I’ll post about my thoughts on that soon.

 

 

 

Are you judging my birth choices?

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New generation of birthing units

An overdue post! I’ve actually got quite a few posts to write up on various subjects (progress on the nursery, my pregnancy updates – am 34 weeks now! – and some reflections on pregnancy buying) but let’s start with this one as it’s a bit grittier. I love gritty topics.

I am generally discovering that I’m not immune to the parent / pregnancy / labour / birth / [insert any word ever] judginess that is rife on the internet and in real life. When people are really judgmental and nasty about the choices that you make or want to make, well, it HURTS. I think this gets worse the more personal the judgement is – and what is more personal than how you choose to give birth to your child? Which brings me onto my current post topic, and my current dilemma.

We went on a tour around our chosen Hospital the other day. Like many hospitals, it’s been set up with a midwife-led unit (MLU) and a consultant led unit / labour ward (CLU). During the tour, there was a lot of emphasis on having a natural birth in the MLU and how the CLU ‘should’ be kept free for the complicated/difficult/dangerous births. Obviously, though, being on the MLU means no doctors/anaesthetists so gas and air and maybe pethidine (there were conflicting responses on the pethidine question) is available. For more pain relief, a transfer (across reception, into the lift) to the CLU would be required.

We walked around the newly opened, very nice MLU and then around the CLU – this was then followed up with a Q&A session with one of the head midwives. I asked a question about their approach to mobile epidurals and received a rather bad-tempered, snappy response. Questions about transferring from the MLU to the CLU etc were shut down. Generally, the message was that, barring any medical issues/limitations, “women (should?) want a natural birth in a MLU”. At least, that was the message that I heard quite loudly. And, to be honest, it isn’t the message that I want to hear.

Let me be clear: I would LOVE to have a straight-forward natural birth. I would love to be able to deal with the pain, put my hypno-birthing training to the test and pass with flying colours. But birth, like life generally, doesn’t always go according to plan. There may be complications, bub may not want to come out. Or, heaven forbid, I may not be able to deal with the pain. If any of the above happens, I want the option of choosing pain relief for myself. Because, guess what, not all women DO want a natural birth in a MLU. We are, God forbid, all different.

What all women do want (I hope) is to be empowered and informed enough to make the choices they want. I know exactly what I want. I would like to start off with as little intervention as possible; gas and air; possibly try a birthing pool. But, if at ANY point, I decide I would like an epidural then I would like an epidural. I don’t want anything else (we have done research into all the options and things like pethidine aren’t going to work for me) and, importantly, I don’t want to be argued with. I want to feel that those around me are supporting the decisions that I’m making and respect my right to choose the birth that I want.

Which brings me back to my current issue with our Hospital. I did not get the impression that women are REALLY free to choose whatever they want. I got the impression that MLU-led natural births are what I’m expected to want, and I will have to argue for any deviation to that ‘norm’ that isn’t due to medical need.

Not to put too fine a point on it but: screw that. If I’m struggling in labour and decide I’d like an epidural, I will go ballistic if I’m ‘encouraged’ against it. It’s MY CHOICE.

However, I also know ‘me’. If, in that crucial, vulnerable, stressful, difficult moment, I am given the impression that someone, anyone, thinks I’m failing at birth because of the choices I am making, it’ll hurt. Because things like that hurt. It’ll stay with me, I’ll remember it, I’ll internalise it. Yes, my husband will be there and can advocate on my behalf but he’ll be stressed too and, importantly, he cannot control how other people act.

So, I’m taking steps to try and have the birth that I want:

  • On Saturday, we’re going to visit the other hospital near where we live so I can assess their attitudes and see if I feel more comfortable there
  • Arrange to speak to the midwives and explain my concerns. See if I can write something up on my preferences that make my issues clear.
  • Explore option of a doula.
  • If none of the above get me anywhere, check out nearby private maternity options.

I have no pre-conceived notions of what birth is going to be like because I’ve never given birth before. What I do want is to ensure that I feel as comfortable, relaxed and supported as possible. That’s what everyone woman should feel like going into labour, through labour and out the other side.

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4D Baby Scan at 31 weeks!

On Saturday, we decided to go for a private scan at BabyBond to check Baby Bug’s position and, also, hopefully get some 4D pictures of him. I’m not quite sure why it’s called 4D but, either way, the imagery is pretty impressive. We were able to see Bug moving around, making quite a few moody faces and rubbing his face with his hand. There was also a smile in there!

I find it amazing that babies can be comfortable in that tiny space – Bug had a hand and foot stuck right up against his face. No wonder he looked a bit moody. Mr Bug and I were totally n00bs during the entire scan – I’m not sure what we were expecting but a baby that actually looked like a baby was clearly not it. I think Mr Bug may have even said “HAH, he has a nose” at one point.

The other awesome thing that this scan revealed is that Bug is head down, not transverse. I breathed quite a large sigh of relief when we heard that. He’s quite large already – 4.8 lbs at just over 31 weeks. I think he’s packed on a few more ounces since then as my back has really started to hurt and lugging him around is getting harder.

3.5 more weeks of work to go.

 

What if I don’t love my child?

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My monsters and me

I’ve got 8 weeks till Due Date. EIGHT WEEKS. I go through periods of intense panic about logistical things (kitchen is being renovated; we haven’t finished the nursery; the Christmas tree is still outside!) to intense calm (meh, we can move in with Mr Bug’s parents if we need to).

But, underlying all of this, is a deeper, more intransigent set of fears that are harder to express. When I try – when I give it a go – people say “Don’t be silly!” or “It’ll all be FINE”. And…that’s the end of the conversation.

Certain fears – and certain realities – are very taboo. I have the feeling that even voicing them can make people uncomfortable. It’s easier to dismiss the very idea as preposterous, ridiculous, the fears of a totes emosh pregnant lady freaking out 8 weeks before the birth of her first child.

I would like to express my fears around becoming a parent without feeling like I’m doing the equivalent of worrying about monsters under my bed. These fears are real; people actually have children and feel like this. If we talked about it more, we might fear it less.

So, after that dramatic introduction, what are these fears?

The scariest one – the one that can make me pause a moment and catch my breath – is the fear that I won’t love my child. I fear that I’ll give birth and someone will hand him over to me and I will feel nothing. Or, worse, I will feel revulsion or panic. That I will want to hand him back.

I’m quite good at loving people. I love my family and my close friends and I’ve had quite a lot of experience with how to love people. But this is totally different, this isn’t like any other relationship I’ve ever had, and I have zero guarantees about how my heart and mind will react. I THINK I’ll love him; I’m pretty SURE that I will; I see NO REASON why I wouldn’t. But.

Another fear – and they are all linked – is that I will regret having him. That he’ll come along and everything in my life will change and I’ll look back and decide that, on balance, it was better before he turned up.

Again – I have no reason to believe that I will think that way but I’m marching at light-speed into the unknown right now. I have absolutely no idea what the day to day struggles of parenthood are like or how I’m going to react to them.

The final fear I’m going to voice here is the fear that I won’t like my child. This has been something that has stayed with me every since reading “We need to talk about Kevin” (such an interesting book by the way!). The idea of nurturing a child, of investing everything into them, only for them to turn out to be a bit of an arsehole (or mass murderer in the case of Kevin – but something a little less apocalyptic would still be distressing) sounds pretty gutting. I know I’m naively foraying into the nature vs nurture debate here but the fact that there is still a debate going on means I can’t 100% assume that my amazingly awesome (obvs) parenting skills will ensure that Baby Bug doesn’t turn out to be a total wanker.

Ah. I feel better already. I don’t want to know that these things aren’t going to happen but saying them (or writing them down) means they are a lot less scary. It also means I can think about these things logically – both in terms of “this is probably not going to happen because x, y and z” but also (and importantly), “if it DOES happen, this is what you can do”.

The little monsters under the bed will still be there, and I’m very likely to spend the next 8 weeks having a little panic about them every so often, but confronting them makes them a lot less scary (and makes me feel a lot less like a crazy person).

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Baby in transverse position (31 week pregnancy update)

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Transverse lie

Weeks: 31 + 2 (NHS) / 30 + 4 (my dates)

New developments:
I had my 31 week doctor appointment a couple of days ago and everything was fine. Well, everything except he suspects Bug is in a transverse position. This means that Bug is lying sideways with his head on one side of my abdomen and his bum on the other.

I wasn’t that surprised to hear this because it’s where Bug has been for most of this pregnancy. I’ve never felt any kicks or movement above my belly button and it’s how he was lying in each of the three scans we have had.

It does mean, however, that Bug needs to move before D-Day as he can’t be born vaginally like this. I’ve found some exercises to do via the Spinning Babies website so will give those a go.

I’ve got my 34 week midwife appointment in early February and, if she suspects he’s still transverse, I’ll go in for a scan to confirm. Then there’s the option of having ECV (external cephalic version) where the obstetrician will try to turn the baby manually. Finally, there’s the option of a caesarian.

These are all the stages that the doctor wanted us to be aware of, but I’m not too concerned right now as I’m still only 31 weeks, so bub has time to turn on his own. It’s good to be aware of the game plan though.

It does explain a few of my aches and pains. My bump is really tight around the lower part but quite loose up top (near my ribs) which puts quite a bit of pressure on my back. All the kicks/rolls are around my lower abdomen, usually to the extreme right and down into my cervix.

Watch this (increasingly tight!) space.

Symptoms:
I constantly need to pee. As soon as I pee, I need to pee again. I try and restrict how much I drink before bed so I’m not up constantly through the night but it’s usually at least twice.

Pelvic pain is getting worse. I’m making a conscious effort to get up from my desk while I’m at work because sitting for a long time usually makes it much worse. I’ve given up trying to walk the 15 minutes back from the station in the evening (hello taxi!) but am still perservering with the morning walk.

Despite trying with ALL of the cushions and pillows, sleeping on my side really hurts my back. I’m not sure if the fact bug is transverse plays into this. I usually end up on my back as, even though I can’t really breathe, it’s less painful than on either side!

Sickness:
Nausea has come back a little bit but no vomming. I’m eating little and often, as is recommended.

Cravings:
Curries. Bug loves curries.

Bump:
I feel massive now but I’ve had a few “you have such a compact bump!” comments so it’s hard to tell.

Maternity fashion:
I haven’t bought anything recently, I’m trying to stick with what I’ve got.

Anything else:
4.5 more weeks at work to go!

Baby signing and new kitchens!

Kitchen
We’ve decided to have our kitchen replaced. It all started because our tap is leaking so we decided to replace it. But it’s a deliciously gorgeous brown 80s colour which matches our sink, so we would have had to replace the whole sink. Given that faff, and given the general naff 80s-ness of the entire kitchen, we decided to go whole hog and replace the entire thing. Our plan at the moment is to start the works when I start maternity leave so I can ‘project manage’ it as much as required. That should also give us enough time for the inevitable delays.

It’s risky; Bug may come early but what’s life without a little risk?! Above is a pic of the colour/style we’ve decided to go for. I can’t wait for a brand new kitchen and all its clever storage ideas and solutions!

Baby signing
One of my best friends has a one year old baby and she practices baby signing with her. I had never heard of this so I’ve been looking into it a bit more, and I’m intrigued! According to babycentre.co.uk, a baby’s “understanding of language and ability to make gestures” develop much faster than his/her ability to speak – so they can use gestures to express themselves before they can talk. My friend says it really helps her bub to not get too frustrated – obviously it’s all pretty simple stuff but she’s able to communicate if she wants more food, is too hot or cold etc.

I somehow doubt it will negate tantrums completely (HAH) but it does sound like a sensible way of helping a child to express themselves before they can talk. I think my hubby and I are going to try it when our baby comes along and see what we think.

 

Leave
It’s the end of another week and I’m about to hit 30 weeks, which feels like a real milestone. I’ve also agreed the start date of my maternity leave with work, so I now have six more working weeks to go. I made the decision to go with the doctor’s advice and stop at 36 weeks. I’ve found myself really slowing down and feeling a lot more cumbersome over the past couple of weeks so I’m happy with my choice now. It does mean that it’s creeping up very fast!

Happy Friday, everyone. 🙂

29 weeks: Pregnancy Update

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Third trimester bumpalicious
  • Weeks: 29 (NHS) / 28 + 3 (my dates)
  • New developments: Bug is quite boisterous. He’s constantly rolling and poking and kicking and generally making his presence felt. It’s very reassuring, if a little painful at times! Walking is becoming much more tiring now, which is to be expected. My ten minute walk to the station now takes me about 15-20 minutes and I’m knackered when I arrive. Stairs at tube stations are also not my friend anymore.
  • Symptoms: Insomnia has arrived! I’m finding it hard to fall asleep and then, when I manage to, I have to get up again to pee! I’m also finding it difficult to get into a comfortable position. I’m also getting rib pain at the top of my stomach so I’m moving around as much as I can while sitting at my desk to alleviate that.
  • Sickness: Nausea has come back a little bit but no vomming. I’m eating little and often, as is recommended, and that is definitely helping. I’m pretty used to nausea now, I think it’s going to be weird when I give birth and it goes away completely.
  • Cravings: Curries. Bug loves curries.
  • Bump: It’s definitely got bigger (see above).
  • Maternity fashion: Coat issue was fixed because I realised I could still *just about* zip up my lovely warm winter coat. I’ve also got a slightly bigger North Face coat (belonging to my Mum) which I can use. Then I might just hibernate.
  • Anything else: Weird dreams!

7 weeks until my mat leave starts, which is crazy! Happy 2016, everyone. 🙂

Project: Decorate the nursery (1)

Hello! It’s been a while since I updated because life has been super hectic and I’ve also been a bit ill – fabulous combination.

We (read: my husband) have emptied out the room next to ours, which will become the nursery. We used it as a spare room so had to dismantle the bed and get rid of all the paraphernalia (we don’t have a utility room so it had become the ironing space, strewn with crumpled clothes).

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Empty nursery! View from doorway

It’s quite a good sized room so I think it’s going to fit everything I want which includes:

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View from t’other side

The room has a built-in wardrobe, which is handy and my aim is to fit either the changing table or a chest of drawers next to this and behind the door. As to where everything else will go, I have no clue.

We’ve decided to go for the Farrow & Ball Cornforth White (which is actually grey, confusingly) for the walls and a matte white for the doors etc. Husby is going to get onto painting those this weekend – although he has got his annual boys night out with school friends on Saturday so I’m doubtful that he’ll get much done on Sunday.

I also want some little Ikea shelves on the walls, mainly so I can hang my Studio Sappor felt name bunting from it, when I buy it. The shelves and the bunting are all gleefully stolen ideas from the awesome Rock My Family blog. This does remind me, however, that we have to start thinking properly about a name for this little guy because Bug just isn’t going to cut it.

Watch this space for progress pics.

Pregnancy update: 21 weeks

Baby got clothes. Lots of clothes.
Baby got clothes. Lots of clothes.

Mr Bug told me that my blog was starting to come across slightly Ranty McRanterson so I thought I’d better update with some normal stuff rather than just armchair feminist warrior posts (hah).

On Saturday, we went to see Mr Bug’s sister, S. She and her husband had baby M a year ago and very kindly gave us a whole pile of baby stuff that M has now outgrown or doesn’t use anymore. When I say whole pile I mean a MASSIVE PILE OF STUFF. It was mainly clothes but also a Tommee Tippee bottle steriliser, lots of books on breastfeeding (currently having a nose through Clare Byam-Cook’s) and new babies (I gave this to Mr Bug as he has no clue), a Sleepyhead Pod (I’ve heard great things about this), an Isofix base and car seat (not sure which one, it’s at Rob’s parents’ house) and other stuff that I’ve forgotten.

The entire chest of drawers above is rammed full – two drawers for 0-3 months, one drawer for 3-6 months, bottom drawer for blankets and sleeping bags and then, upstairs, another drawer full of 6-12 months. I’ll devote a bit more time in later posts to the various things we’ve picked up.

  • Weeks: 21 + 1 (NHS) / 20 + 3 (my dates)
  • New developments: Bug is now moving enough that kicks can be felt on the outside! Mr Bug felt one and his face was a picture, it was as if he had momentarily forgotten there was a baby in there and didn’t know know what was happening. I can now see that I’m going to be obsessing over kicks from now until birth. Bug tends to be active in the afternoon, late evening and very early morning.
  • Sickness: Still nauseous all the time but the level is low enough that I can get on with most things. Mornings are still a struggle as that’s when I feel nauseous enough to throw up. Some toast and steady breathing usually rectifies that.
  • Last vom: Monday 2 November – over a week ago! *Cue dancing banana*
  • Cravings: I’m still all about the carbs and unhealthy foods. I’m trying to eat other stuff but, because of the nausea, I’m just going with what my body wants. This may mean I’m the size of a house by EDD but, after HG, I really don’t care.
  • Bump: It’s definitely getting bigger! Will do a bump pic soon.
  • Maternity fashion: Rob’s sister gave me some dresses and jeans from when she was pregnant, which is amazing. Most of them are Top Shop or Next. I’m still absolutely loving my Mothercare work trousers and my Asos jeans. My biggest fashion issue at the moment is a coat – or a lack of coat. None of my current ones fit over bump and I’m not someone who enjoys the cold so having bump exposed is Not Ideal. I’m going to have a go with a thick scarf but, if not, I may have to invest in a maternity-type coat. I always said I wouldn’t because it feels like a waste of money, buuut winter is coming (insert GoT gif).
  • Anything else: I woke up today with a sore throat. Boo.

On Thursday, Mr Bug and I, along with Mr Bug’s parents, are off to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My parents live there at the moment so we thought it would be nice to visit them and do some sight-seeing. Of course, this was before I got pregnant and had HG! Just to be safe, I won’t be going on any of the tours (around Lalibela and Axum – super jealous) but will be living it up in Addis for 10 days. If you fancy seeing snaps, please follow me on Instagram – my username is @katinda.

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